I'm trying to think of a good analogy for being trans is... the closest I think I've got is:
Imagine every day, you make yourself the same meal everyday. PB&J and a glass of milk. You hear that’s all you need, you got your protein, dairy, bread, and even your fruit. You’ve been eating it every day and it is what it is. Like if someone asks what you eat, you say without question: PB&J and milk.
After many years of eating it, you don’t even taste it anymore. You just consider it as substance. You know if you stopped eating it, things could go bad pretty quickly. However, you’ve always walked by this resturant just by your house, and in through the glass you see them frying veggies, cooking meats, and baking pastries. They make your mouth drool. The aromas are too much to handle, it seems. You become intranced by other people cooking, it’s almost hypnotic. You kind of think, it might be nice to try one of these different meals; stir fry, steaks, sushi, hell, even vegetarian dishes. But you refrain. You eat PB&J. That’s what you eat. That’s what you’ve always eaten. It has everything you need, why question it? Like anything else, you think, would probably make you sick. You think you know how your body will react to these foods, fits of gas, diarrhea, stomach aches, it all seems so unpleasant. Your PB&J, though bland, is safe. You know what it tastes like. Hell, you even know how many bites it takes you to finish the sandwich every time. But that resturant down the road…
After a while, your dreams become about the food:what it must taste like, the texture, the spiciness, the zap and ping of new foods. Even though you’ve never had them before, you somehow have a memory of them as detailed as that is of your PB&J.
After a while, you can’t go on eating the same thing. Your sandwich, which has kept you alive for years, loses some of its color. The bread always tastes stale. The peanut butter isn’t right, the jelly tastes like poison, the milk feels like it curdles in your mouth. Yet, you continue to eat it. It fucking feels like prison food. But you keep telling yourself “you’ve had it forever, you’ll always have it, it must be good. It has everything I need to survive. I have to like it.”
Panic sets in. The thought of eating just the same sandwich every day becomes as scary of a thought as trying new foods. You can’t tell the difference between today’s meal and the last 18 years of this meal. Depression, anxiety, hopelessness.
After an even longer time, you have a wild idea: “ I could try that resturants food. If it’s not good then I don’t ever have to eat there again.” Just the thought alone feels like your breaking the laws of physics with your mind. It’s crazy, ludicrous, even mentally unsound. But the thought persists. One day on your usual walk, you stop in front of their doors. Your palms sweat, your clothes cling tight to your body, your lungs feel the size of ping pong balls. You push the door open.
Everyone inside greets you with a smile. It feels like a war zone in your head. Like any moment the walls could come falling in, and you should just run out the doors. But you don’t. Something so small inside tells you to stay.
You order something foreign on the menu. Not crazy to the workers, but to you it’s like eating a live animal. It comes quickly to your table. The first time you’ve ever held a fork is now, and you’ve got to look like you know what you’re doing. You nervously cut into the food, bring it up under your nose, and do a quick prayer incase you might die. You Bite. Oh my God. It’s fuckin delicious! It’s feels like you’ve saved the planet with your fork, you push down the fake walls surrounding you and notice just how big the world is. You scarf up the food, never mind the fork. You order again and again, and binge on the menu.
You go home feeling sick, realizing how much you ate, how much it cost you, how terrible you currently feel, and just how pain your normal meal is. It takes a long time to painfully digest all the new foods in your over filled stomach. There’s a pain, but somehow, you know you’ll do it again.
Skip forward a couple of months. You no longer eat that PB&J sandwich any more. You realize that you could, it just doesn’t seem right. You’ve learned to cook. Your house is filled with aromas and spices, and different ingredients from around the world. It takes you longer to prepare each meal, but for some reason the payoff is worth it. Its just what you do now. You realize you could have been doing it for years, and no one would bother. But you’re glad you finally learned how to cook something other than that goddamn PB&J.